This grant will support a new summer course designed to serve as a pipeline for the existing clean tech entrepreneurship program on campus. The course will bring students, professors, and professionals together to build and demonstrate value propositions for disruptive clean tech business ideas. The best ideas from this program will be forwarded to CleanTech Entrepreneurship and CleanTech Venture Assessment courses for further development, and participation in the Michigan Clean Energy Challenge.
In Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS), faculty and students pursue mission-based teaching, research, and outreach that address real-world problems. However, only a few students who major in agriculture, food and related disciplines demonstrate significant enthusiasm for creating their own companies and pursuing entrepreneurship after graduation. SEBS currently offers no undergraduate courses on entrepreneurship specifically targeted at Production Agriculture and Food.
This grant supports the creation of Entrepreneurial Agriculture (EA), a course designed to promote value creation in production agriculture and food processing through E-Teams. In the course, students will learn the basics of entrepreneurship and come up with an innovation in Production Ag and Food. In addition, EA students will be able to participate in a competitive summer internship program focused on the food/ag industry, receiving hands-on experience and learning which new inventions could add value. Students will compete by presenting a product or service idea that they would like to explore through a hands-on summer internship. The internships are not job placement opportunities; rather, students will have the real world experience in their area of interest and be encouraged to come back to school post internship and be supported to develop new products and ventures. Finally, the grant will support Rutgers’ Students E-Team (RUSTET), a club whose mission will be to promote entrepreneurship in production agriculture and food processing.
The Entrepreneurial Leadership Program (ELP) at Tufts educates undergraduate students in arts, sciences and engineering on the principles of entrepreneurship. Since the ELP started in 2002, over 375 students have completed the minor. But while the program is popular, students enrolled in it currently lack the resources and opportunity to build prototypes and the program has had very few engineering students (1 in 10). The students learn about the business side of entrepreneurship, but rarely move their products beyond paper designs in class.
The goal of this grant is to combine the BotLAB, an on-campus workshop developed by mechanical engineering students with a focus on robotics, with the ELP to create the iLab or inventor's lab. Students from different disciplines will work together to invent and fabricate ideas and then attempt to take them to market by teaming with other students with the necessary expertise. Funding will go toward running competitions and developing a scaffold of curricular and advising assistance to help students productize and commercialize their ideas.
This grant supports the creation of the Social Innovation Design Lab at the University of Southern California, a semester-long course in which interdisciplinary student teams develop solutions to challenges faced by impoverished residents of the San Joaquin Valley (a community located four hours north of campus). The prosperity of USC’s campus stands in stark contrast to the San Joaquin Valley’s high pollution levels, poor access to nutritive foods, and lack of basic infrastructure. The course will use the “design thinking” process, a systematic approach to problem solving that begins with consumer empathy and iterates toward better solutions. Students will engage in community immersion, need finding, business analysis, prototyping, and testing solutions designed to fit community needs. The goal of the course is to move the most promising of students’ social innovations from the idea stage, to prototype, to market.
This planning grant supports the development of BioENGINE (BioEngineering, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship), a new twelve-month Master’s of Science program at the University of California, Irvine that will provide rigorous, practical, hands-on, team-based training in biomedical innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization. In the planned program, students will work with select faculty to translate a pre-commercial project into a startup venture, or will work with an existing company to develop a new medical device. E-Teams will write Advanced E-Team and/or SBIR/STTR grants as their thesis reports, enter business competitions, create portfolios to showcase and disseminate their work, and have access to on-campus incubator space and a network of industry contacts/mentors to pursue opportunities once the program finishes.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2012 - $41,000
This grant supports development of The Startup Class, a new interdisciplinary course at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. The Startup Class will pair Virginia Tech’s entrepreneurial ecosystem with research-based design pedagogy to support students in creating new technology ventures. In the course, students will integrate customer and product development (“lean startup” principles), creating technologies and businesses based around market needs. Teams will be able to pursue commercialization beyond the course by enrolling in VT KnowledgeWorks, a local business accelerator, and working with The Entrepreneurship Center @ Northern Virginia Technology Council. The long term goal is to design an innovation and entrepreneurship certificate program and eventually offer a minor in global engineering.
Polytechnic Institute of New York University, 2012 - $39,950
The existing entrepreneurship courses offered at NYU Poly require students to complete a real venture development project, moving through the standard stages of opportunity identification and evaluation, team building, marketing, and more. While these courses have succeeded in giving students an understanding of the entrepreneurial process, most E-Teams have found it difficult to advance to the commercial stage after the course ends, mainly due to a lack of resources and support. This grant will be used to (1) support NYU Poly E-Teams by funding prototyping and patenting, and (2) facilitate interactions between NYU Poly researchers, students and experienced entrepreneurs to foster joint ventures.
The University of Bridgeport (UB) has the technical foundation to commercialize new technologies, with a variety of majors in business, design, engineering and technology management, but they need to strengthen the curriculum to encourage students from different disciplines to work together. This planning grant will support UB in developing a new course focused on interdisciplinary product commercialization. The course, called New Product Commercialization, will involve students from engineering, business and design in developing products focused on human health and environmental concerns. NCIIA funding will allow the instructor team to develop programming that will enable their teams to build prototypes and investigate intellectual property protection. The course will be developed in collaboration with UB’s incubator, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, 2011 - $8,000
This planning grant supports the creation of a new program, the Innovation Sandbox, at Cal Poly. The program will have a number of components, including a basic prototype facility available to students, staff skilled in technology business development, faculty from engineering and business, access to campus engineering labs, connections to campus competitions, and support in writing E-Team grants. The goal of Innovation Sandbox is to nurture new tech ideas and take them beyond the academic setting.